4 Factors That Can Cause Tax Refund Delays

The arrival of tax season has brought about one of the chief concerns of the year for most people throughout the country: tax refund checks.

For many Americans, tax refund money is one of the most significant sources of additional income during a given year. The majority of tax refund checks are between $2,000 to $3,000. That means that most Americans receive a sizable check after they file their taxes. Tax refund checks are commonly spent on vacations, new electronics, investments, education, and other large purchases.

A calculator, tax documents, and tax refund money on a table.

Typically, your refund should arrive within 21 days of filing. But we know that doesn’t always happen. If you’ve yet to receive your refund check, you’re probably curious about the factors which can cause your refund check to be delayed. When it comes to turnaround time for issuing refunds, not all tax returns are created equal. Some returns are more likely to produce speedier turnarounds than others.

In this post, we will discuss a few of the common reasons why your tax refund may be delayed. There are plenty of other factors which can cause delay. But these are a few which tend to occur more frequently than others.


Incorrect Social Security Number

This one shouldn’t come as a big surprise. When you submit your tax return for review by the IRS, you will input a range of personal information. This information is necessary to confirm your identity. One piece of information needed is social security number. Simply put, if you fail to input your social security number correctly in your tax filings, your return will take longer to process and can end up causing a big delay to your tax refund check.

Fortunately, most of the electronic-based filing systems have error detection so you can catch your mistake before you file. In any case, you should carefully review your return before filing in order to ensure everything is accurate.


Incorrect Bank Account Information

This is an error which can cause major delays. If you elect to receive your tax refund money via direct deposit, you need to be absolutely certain that your bank account information is input correctly. If you make a mistake, the IRS will simply send the tax refund to the incorrect bank account. Then, when the direct deposit transfer is either returned or rejected, the IRS will then issue a paper tax refund check. Altogether, this whole process can cause a tax refund check to be delayed by weeks or even months.


Making Computational Errors

When the IRS reviews your return, it will check to ensure that the mathematics involved in your return are correct. The IRS will check to make sure that you’ve added up your deductions correctly, that your taxable income is computed correctly, and so forth. If you’ve made computational errors in your tax return, this can cause delays in your refund check. The IRS will need to correct those computational errors in order to determine the amount of your refund (or whether you’ll receive a refund at all).


Filing a Tax Return via Paper

Filing a paper tax return will cause your refund to take a bit longer to be transferred by the IRS – especially if you wait until tax day. Interestingly, this is actually true regardless of whether you make any mistakes on your return. The IRS receives millions of returns via mail every filing season. And it has to input all of the data from your paper return into its computer system by hand.

This manual work simply takes more time, and so filing via paper will cause a delay in all instances. If you file electronically, you can expect to receive your refund check within 3 weeks. But if you file via paper, you should expect to receive your money within about 6 weeks. And with the IRS’s immense backlog of unprocessed returns, this could be the most likely reason your tax refund is delayed.


Contact Boxelder Consulting to Learn More

These are just a few of the things which can cause a delay in your tax refund money. Be sure to go the extra mile and try to avoid making these mistakes when you file. Filing taxes can quickly get complicated for most people. This is because taxes involve many unfamiliar terms and concepts. Sometimes, the unfamiliar terminology of the tax world can be overwhelming.

If you need any help navigating the tax world, or want more information about tax refunds, get in touch with Boxelder Consulting today. We can help you no matter your filing status. Need to file your taxes? We’ve got you covered. If your original return had major mistakes, we can help you file an amended return. Have questions about other tax-related topics like the child tax credit? The team at Boxelder Consulting can assist you with any tax related question you may have. Call us today at 303-317-6111.

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About the Author

A company founder standing by Colorado's Front Range

Tom Conradt

Co-Founder, IRS Collections Defense Attorney

Tom Conradt is the co-founder of Boxelder Consulting & Tax Relief, and has been practicing IRS Collections defense law for the past ten years. Graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Tom is the lead IRS Collections Defense Attorney and heads the tax resolution department. Tom’s favorite part about working at Boxelder Consulting is hearing about the relief that clients experience after they sign up and start seeing immediate results on their case. Tom enjoys all the outdoor activities Colorado has to offer, including skiing, hiking and climbing. He is also looking forward to the return of indoor pickup basketball.

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